Arts & Culture

Arts Council England progresses accessibility plan

Featured image credit: Larisa Birta on Unsplash

Arts Council England (ACE) has launched a consultative survey with venues as it develops plans to create a UK wide access scheme that will make attending creative and cultural events easier for disabled, D/deaf and neurodivergent people.

The government-funded body dedicated to promoting the performing, visual and literary arts in England will discuss a variety of proposals with venues, organisations and ticketing providers after already conducting a widescale survey of disabled people, in particular those from within the creative and cultural sector.

Plans it will discuss include a new digital membership scheme allowing members to provide details of their access needs once, so they do not have to repeat themselves each time they visit a new venue. ACE also wants to make a website where audience members can find information on accessible performances and the access provision of venues.

ACE diversity director Abid Hussain said: “From all that work we’ve got a good idea of the kind of things people want to see from any scheme that is eventually rolled out. So, it seemed the right time to take the consultation wider. We want to get as many creative and cultural venues that run ticketed events to give their views on the proposed ideas of how a scheme would run.

“The survey is open until 30 November and is part of the ongoing process that will lead to a UK wide access scheme. A scheme which all those involved hope will mean audience members with access needs will be given the support they want, and the venues they visit are helped to be inclusive to everyone.”

Other proposals include a membership database that ticket booking systems can integrate with, allowing members to automatically apply their access needs at the point of booking, facilitating the distribution of companion tickets and other accessible seating

A knowledge hub of training, resources, and guidance for creative and cultural organisations to support them in developing a more inclusive experience for disabled visitors will be discussed. It will also look at a newly developed set of best-practice standards for the creativity and culture sector relating to digital access, events and programming and customer service.